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"Remains Of The Day" By Kazou Ishiguro: Stevens' Dignity.

882 words - 4 pages

A man named Stevens embarks on a journey to the west country at the end of the prologue. Stevens, a model English butler narrates the novel in such a way that shows if he is expressing his emotions, or concealing them. Stevens' solitary journey reveals more to the reader than it does to himself, which creates an unreliable narrator out of Stevens. For example, Stevens believes that he is making his trip to visit miss Kenton for professional reasons in order to offer her a job at Darlington Hall. However, the underlying meaning, seen in Stevens's emotionless concealing language, is that he has more than professional feelings for Miss Kenton. Stevens does his best the convince himself as well as the reader that his intentions are strictly professional, saying "I would of course have to write to Miss Kenton to tell her I might be passing by" (20). He puts his emotions aside and states "I can see no genuine reason why I should not undertake this trip" (20).The early career of Stevens was spent moving between households, trying to achieve his goal of becoming a great butler. He holds his father in the same light as butlers such as "Mr Marshall of Charleville House and Mr Land of Bridewood" (34), saying they are "two great butlers of recent times" (34). Stevens describes his father, saying "he not only knew all there was to know about how to run a house, he did in his prime come to acquire that 'dignity in keeping with his position', as the Hayes Society puts it" (35). The idea of dignity, and what it means to have dignity is very important to Stevens, and can be described by him by using his father. Stevens says "if I try, then, to describe to you what I believe made my father thus distinguished, I may in this way convey my idea of what 'dignity' is" (35). This is part of Stevens' reasoning when he is so insistent that Miss Kenton refers to his father as Mr. Stevens Senior rather than Albert.Stevens is clearly proud of being a butler because it is a role that serves humanity, however the role of a butler also requires remoteness, and a suppression of emotions, which can be described as 'inhuman'. Because of this, Stevens has a personality that has been programmed to think and react, regardless of his true feelings. This is apparent when Stevens' father dies, but he does not go upstairs to see him. Stevens again puts his feelings aside for his job and says "Miss Kenton, please don't think me unduly improper in not ascending to see my...

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